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Statement by Ambassador SHA Zukang on Draft Resolution Entitled "Human Rights Situation in China"(Geneva, April 15, 2004)
2004/04/16

Mr. Chairman,

China categorically rejects the anti-China draft resolution contained in L.37 tabled by the United States. In accordance with Paragraph 2, rule 65 of the Rules of Procedure for the Functional Committees of ECOSOC of the United Nations, I hereby move that the Commission take no action on that draft.

This is the 11th time that the United States tabled yet another anti-China draft resolution. Each time it claimed that it did so on the ground that the human rights situation in China "worsened sharply".  If that absurd logic holds any truth, China would have already backslid to the primitive stage.

Now what is the real picture of China's human rights situation?  Has there been any deterioration? The truth is that China is now under a new generation of leadership who is inspired by the ideal of building a people-centered government and is committed to do all it can in the interest of the people.  Under this government, the Chinese people have successfully overcome the SARS epidemic and achieved an annual GDP growth rate of 9.1 percent. Given the fact that 900 million out of our 1.3 billion population live in the rural area, this government has given top priority to resolving issues of farm, farming and farmers and has set the target of removing all types of agricultural taxes within five years, and providing health care for migrant workers and education for their children.  Today, China's per capita GDP exceeds 1000 US$, while its population in poverty has reduced from 250 million in 1978 to 29 million of last year. Average life expectancy of the Chinese has increased from 35 years before the new China was established to 71,4 years of today.  A recent UNDP report has acknowledged the enormous progress made by China in achieving the Millennium Goals, and according to the report, most of the goals in the Millennium Declaration could be realized in China by the

year 2015. If this is to be considered as violation of human rights, then what kind of activities are to be considered as protection of human rights?  Maybe a "human rights defender" such as the U.S. will enlighten us that its notorious police brutality, its practice of racial discrimination, or its killing of innocent Iraqi civilians are acts in protection of human rights.

The U.S. claims that China lacks basic freedoms.  Such a claim is pure distortion of facts and outright lying.  The truth is that the Chinese people enjoy freedoms of speech, assembly, association, religion and belief that are guaranteed by law.  Each year, more than 140,000 kinds of books, 8000 magazines and 2000 newspapers are published in China.  There are over 80 million internet-users and 320 TV stations in the country. China has five major religions, namely Buddhism, Daoism, Islamism, Catholicism, and Christianity. There are more than 100 million believers, and 300,000 clerks. Take the Bible as an example, more than 30 million copies have been printed and distributed.

The U.S. accuses China of problems in the judicial system.  In fact, China has been making constant efforts in improving its judicial system.  It is particularly noteworthy that last March the National People's Congress incorporated the concept of "the state respects and protects human rights" into the Chinese Constitution, thus marking an important milestone in China's cause for promoting and protecting human rights.  It is the U.S., who on the other hand, has done everything in an attempt to undermine China's judicial system by, for example, asking China to reduce sentence on criminal X one day and demanding release on parole for criminal Y the other day.  

The U.S. accuses China of failing to cooperate with international human rights mechanism.  The truth is, after receiving visit last September by the Special Rapporteur on the Right to Education, China has extended this year invitations to the Working Group on arbitrary detention, the Special Rapporteur on torture, and Special Rapporteur on religious freedom, and the new High Commissioner for them to visit China.  In addition, China maintains human rights exchanges and dialogues with more than a dozen countries. While the U.S. has repeatedly refused visits by Special Rapporteur on torture and other special mechanisms of the Human Rights Commission.  Given such a record, the U.S. has no qualification to find fault with China and nitpick China's human rights situation.

The United States claims that the resolution this year is very mildly-worded, presuming that more support would thus be won over. Regrettably, by over-rating its own IQ, it has under-estimated other people's judgment. To any person who can still use brain, it is only obvious that the U.S. resolution is nothing but a sugar-coated bullet.  And even masquerading as a mild resolution, its true purpose of obstinately interfering in the affairs of other countries in order to serve its domestic interests cannot be concealed.

History has shown that all power-hungry countries shared the same love of lording over others.  Yet there is another type of countries that have neither fear nor superstition, and they refuse to be the subject of manipulation.   China, along with the majority of countries, belongs to that group of countries.  In its resolution, the U.S. orders China to carry out "structural reforms", unfortunately this is the wrong message to the wrong country.  Here I would like to tell the U.S. that China is not willing, nor able to turn the U.S. into China.  At the same time, China is not willing, nor is any other country able, to turn China into the U.S. So please wake up and stop dreaming!

Facts have shown that far from backsliding, the human rights situation in China has advanced significantly. Reacting from disappointment and jealousy, the U.S. came up with this anti-China resolution.

Mr. Chairman,

China is neither heaven nor hell. China is just in the process of building a society with decent living standards. The Chinese government is confident that it has the capability of gradually solving the problems in the process of its development. All that the Chinese government is doing is to satisfy the Chinese people. As long as they are happy and satisfied, our government will unswervingly continue its work.  Actually, we are not particularly concerned about whether it will please the U.S at all.

Appointing itself as a "human rights defender". The U.S. picks on the human rights situations of other countries at will, but says nothing about her own disastrous human rights records. Not long ago, I suggested that the U.S. should first take a good look at herself in the mirror before criticizing others. Two weeks have passed, the U.S. is still not looking in the mirror. I cannot imagine how such a grand superpower could be so cowardly.

Some American friends said that U.S.-China relations are at their best in history. Since we are such good friends, we speak today in a way with what the U.S. see as "friendly" terms, doing away with those modesties and courtesies.

Mr. Chairman,

China's "no action motion" on the draft resolution does not mean that we want to avoid discussing China's human rights situation. On the contrary, we welcome well-intentioned criticisms and suggestions from other countries. We moved for "no-action" because the U.S. anti-China resolution is for the sole purpose of serving the interests of its domestic presidential election, rather than that of genuine concern for human rights.  Our motion complies with the Rules of Procedure, and has the purpose of defending the credibility and principles of the Human Rights Commission. In the interest of safeguarding the solemn nature, objectivity and impartiality of our Commission, the Chinese delegation calls upon the members of the Commission to stand by principles, uphold justice and fair-play, and to vote "yes" for our "no-action motion".

Thank you, Mr. Chairman.

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